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Mike Gorun

Mike Gorun Managing Partner/CEO

Exclusive Blog Posts

Women in the Dealer Workforce: Where We Are & Where We Can Go

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Keeping Up with the Joneses in Quick Lube

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How Do You Solve A Problem Like Generation Z?

In the past, the right mixes of traditional and media buys wrapped up in the bow that is your demographic was all it took to catch consumer’s attention and bring them into your dealership. Then Al Gore invented the Internet and everything changed. Not all at once, mind you, but it did and still is. Attracting attention to your business today is more difficult than ever. It will continue to get more difficult and your options will continue to expand. The youth of today are growing up and these young people are becoming the consumers that brands are courting.

The discussion around Millennials and how to effectively market to them and create loyal customers has been going on for years. Those Millennial are in or nearing their thirties now and we have Generation Z replacing them in marketers’ minds. Millennials used to be a Rubik’s Cube that could be solved with enough study. However, as the digitization of the world has increased, reaching Generation Z has become a more daunting task then ever.

Chegg, a student hub that is a leading provider of homework help for high school and college students, released a study during Advertising Week in September 2013 titled “Engaging the Made-to-Order Generation.” The results were generated through an online survey of over 4,000 college students. According to the study, college students consume an average 47 hours of media per week. While that might not surprise you, consider that 32 of those hours are via online or from their mobile devices. Mobile device use has grown 250 percent since 2011 and 84 percent of college students say they use a smartphone; and which 43 percent of those reported that they’d used it to make a purchase within 30 days. Tablet use has also doubled from 16 percent in 2011 to 34 percent in 2013. The young people of today are heading online for just about all of their activities; including communication, media consumption, shopping and information.

The consumers of tomorrow are migrating to technology to satisfy that instant gratification desire they’ve become accustomed to. As a result, technology companies are adapting to accommodate them. Transparency is increasingly demanded and companies are meeting those demands. You would think that for the generation that made “selfies” a trend it would be difficult to win over their business. However, according to the study, that would be wrong.

The study found that college students are eager to give their loyalty to a company and to also become a brand advocate. In fact they were pretty forthcoming on what they’re looking for in order to back a company.

  • 88 percent said it was important that companies give back to the community.
  • 84 percent are willing to advocate for brands that reward their loyalty.
  • 82 percent were willing to be frugal in some areas so that they could spend more in others.
  • 80 percent expect real-time customer service
  • 80 percent said that it was important to buy from companies with responsible business practices.

Generation Z is decisively willing to award you their loyalty. However, they have what may seem to be some pretty steep demands in return. When you drill it down to basics, the formula is simple: Do the right thing. Pay attention to your customers needs. Give back. Show them that you appreciate them.

These young consumers aren’t any different than consumers of the past. What’s changed is that information is instantaneous and expectations have evolved along with it. These young people expect to be treated right and appreciated by businesses that care. 

They want to feel special by receiving discount offers and coupons. They like free stuff like everyone else. The students surveyed reported that they “notice timely communication and appreciate gentle reminders.” They’re loyal but they expect that loyalty to be rewarded.  The only difference between Generation Z and past generations is that technology has opened up a world of near instantaneous communication and information.

Long gone are the days of sending a letter and waiting a response. Today, young consumers expect your business to be available via any communication channel they choose whether that’s phone, e-mail, chat, text, or social media. Be there for them and they’ll be there for you... and be pretty impressed.

Generation Z is not the Rubik’s Cube that we think it is. They are there, ready and willing to be courted by a company that is willing to adapt. Don’t think for a second that they are asking businesses to adapt to them. They are a product of technology just as text messages are.

They simply want a business that understands and utilizes the same technology that they do.  

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